I have four wheelchairs: my heavy NHS chair, my everyday chair, my all-terrain chair for work and festivals, and a light-weight folding back-up-chair which I had to get when my everyday chair catastrophically broke last August.
As of yesterday not one of these chairs was in working order. Yesterday I noticed that my back-up-chair, already struggling with a ripped backrest, was also about to lose a brake. I was on the edge of having no safe way to get around. I immediately called my wheelchair supplier who agreed to come out and fix my back-up and assess the fault on my everyday chair.
He quickly restored my back-up to a usable condition before turning his attention to my everyday chair. ‘Do you want the good news or the bad news?’ he asked, and then explained that the missing screw couldn’t be replaced there and then because the thread had gone, so he’d need to take the chair away to fix it. This, it turned out, was the good news.
He’d also looked at the rest of the chair and discovered that one of its wheels was buckled. He demonstrated this by holding the chair off the ground and spinning the wheel. It was plain to see that rather than spinning in a straight line it was undulating from side to side. Put simply – my chair needs new wheels.
This was the bad news. Wheels are expensive, they take time to deliver, and I’m very fond of my existing orange spokes.
I told Fat Sister about this a few minutes ago, she laughed and said, ‘Welcome to the joys of wheeled vehicle ownership.’ Then, taking a marginally more sympathetic tone, “That’s what happens every time I take the car in for an MOT.”
I’m disappointed by the news that my everyday chair will be out of action for even longer than I’d expected, but at least my back-up’s keeping me moving in the meantime.
And on the up side I can now legitimately spend many more hours poring over wheelchair websites deciding which wheels to go for.
The big question is do I get orange spokes again or go for a different colour?